Two Eastern Iowans agree to fines for animal manure discharges, more than 60,000 fish killed

Leak near Dyersville last October killed more than 60,000 fish

Iowa DNR logo
Iowa DNR logo

A New Vienna dairy operator had agreed to pay more than $24,000 after manure that leaked from his facility in October killed more than 60,000 fish in a stream north of Dyersville.

John Hoefler and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) signed a consent order last month agreeing Hoefler would pay $22,417 in fish restitution and investigative costs and a $2,000 penalty for an unintentional manure discharge at his facility, according to enforcement actions made public last week.

The fish kill was reported Oct. 9 on Hickory and Hewitt Creeks in Dubuque County. DNR staff started at the Highway 136 bridge in Dyersville and followed dead fish upstream for about five miles to an unnamed tributary of the Hickory Creek, where they believe the leak occurred.

The DNR estimated 60,000 fish, including white suckers, stonerollers, minnows and creek chubs, died after manure leaked from an open lot at the dairy, Brian Jergenson, DNR senior environmental specialist, told The Gazette in October. The operation has 240 mature dairy cattle with about 50 immature dairy cattle.

Hoefler also agreed to complete a report detailing how he plans to prevent future discharges.

Fayette County leak

Raymond Forsyth Farms, which owns a former swine facility in Fayette County, has agreed to pay nearly $7,000 in fish restitution and investigative costs after an August discharge from the manure confinement pit.

Jeff Forsyth, president of the company, signed the consent order April 25 saying manure that leaked from the site near Maynard killed about 8,700 fish on a tributary of the Little Volga River. The manure was traced back to a small swine facility that had not held pigs since 2013 and had been demolished in 2017.

Forsyth told investigators in August he thought the confinement pit below the former facility was filled with rainwater, but investigators found manure in the grass where water had flowed from the pit, the DNR reported.


The DNR penalty for Forsyth also includes violations for not having done proper asbestos reporting or inspection before demolition of the confinement facility.

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